Senior shakes up Earthquakes

Tessa De Vilbiss
Staff Writer

It is a fact that playing a professional sport in front of thousands of screaming fans decked out in their team’s colors chanting “Go!” would be a dream come true.

One of Cal High’s students is on his way to living this dream.

Meet senior Chad Radulovich, a first-year Cal student. At 6-foot-4, one would think he plays basketball, but since he was five Radulovich has played soccer, including the past few years training to play as a professional.

Recently, Chad joined the San Jose Earthquakes developmental team for 17 and 18 year olds. This team competes against other developmental teams for Major League Soccer.

When players in the Academy, or the U.S. Soccer Developmental League, turn 18 or graduate from high school, they can move up to play for the MLS professional team.

Originally from Canada, Radulovich has moved to Serbia, Holland and Seattle to play soccer. He moved to Holland at 14, Serbia at age 15, and to Seattle last year.
Radulovich was traded from the Seattle Sounders to the Earthquakes this past summer.

“After school, I’ll go to college and play for the Earthquakes,” said Radulovich, a forward. “Then I want to move back to Europe and play professionally.”

This may seem like a lot of hard work, but Radulovich enjoys every minute of it.

“I never get tired of soccer,” said Radulovich.

Players in the league, though, are often from other countries and don’t get to see their parents much. Radulovich’s family lives in Canada and he sees them about every four months.

As a minor living away from his family, Radulovich gets a new guardian when he moves from team to team.

Radulovich’s younger brother, Nick, found Michele Ineson, Radulovich’s new guardian, through the real estate website where she works.

“They asked me if I would like to host Chad and I said yes,” said Ineson.

When finally enrolled at Cal, the men’s soccer team heard about Radulovich. They said they would love to have him on their team, but unfortunately that’s not possible.
The Earthquakes’ Academy team’s season is year round, so when athletes reach a professional level, playing high school sports is no longer an option because of their intense practice schedule.

“Yeah, I think it’s too bad because he would have lead our varsity team,” said junior soccer player Leonard Haller. “We could have won NCS with him on our varsity team.”

Some students, like junior Andi Quilalang, have seen Radulovich’s team play.

“It was really fun to watch and I was impressed by their skills and how much time and dedication they put into practicing,” said Quilalang.

Playing soccer at this level takes a lot of dedication. The team practices three days a week and has games on Saturdays and Sundays year round. “Running Monday’s” is the given name to the team’s conditioning day.

Radulovich and his teammates run for two hours doing sprints, drills, and running techniques. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Earthquakes train and work on fundamentals and ball possession.

Playing a professional sport at age 17 isn’t something many people would be able to do because of the talent, sacrifice, and focus required.

“It is extremely hard to play soccer at this level in high school,” said Ineson. “All he does is sleep, study, go to school, and play soccer.”

That may be so, but all of the hard work Radulovich and his teammates put in pay off.

At the Academy, the players learn to perfect their ball control skills, constantly condition, and prepare to play professionally.

“Chad has some very good qualities as a soccer player,” said Marquis White, Chad’s coach. “He has good ball skills, works very hard in games and training, great attitude, but most of all Chad is a very coachable player.”

So, if you happen to go to the Earthquake’s Buck Shaw Stadium, in Santa Clara and see Radulovich practicing, go and ask for an autograph. It could be worth something very, very soon.